CORTLAND — Two years ago, the Cortland Purple Tigers were two wins away from a Section III Class C girls lacrosse championship.
This year, with a roster lacking much varsity experience, or even any kind of competitive lacrosse experience, the road back to the playoffs will be a bumpy one.
The first bump came Tuesday night in a 16-1 loss to the East Syracuse-Minoa Spartans at Moiseichik Field.
The Spartans spread the love offensively with two players recording hat tricks (Emma Biel with five goals and Anna Paduano with three), three players with two goals (Sara Stark, Rileigh White and Julianna Barton) and two other players with one goal each (Rylyn Commisso and Mackenzie Praxl). They also dominated time of possession, ground balls (26-9) and faceoff wins (12-6).
Megan Harrington had the lone Purple Tigers goal early in the second half, putting home a rebound after Spartans goalie Anna James denied Kadison MacNabb for one of her three saves.
“We obviously are low in numbers and we’ve got some really young new players,” Purple Tigers head coach Kindra Catalano said. “This is the first time they’ve seen and felt a full-field lacrosse game, so clearly understanding how we mesh, how we talk to each other, who’s going to step up and take a leadership role with Hannah Partigianoni out this season due to injury are some kinks we’re going to have to work on.”
Even with the lopsided score, goaltending is one area where the Purple Tigers have plenty of experience. Bella Smith got the assignment in this game and made 13 saves, including a string of difficult ones to begin the second half. She will split duties this season with Daina Gutierrez.
“(Smith) really committed to the position a few years ago,” Catalano said. “We are going to continue to work with both goalies, both seniors. If I could put them together and make one human we’d be in really good shape. I think she’s going to come up big as an overall athlete for us.”
The Purple Tigers (0-1) play their next game at Syracuse City at 5 p.m. Friday.
Homer 15, Cazenovia 4
Kloey Roos had six goals, Camryn Calabro had four goals and an assist and Katlyn Sovocool had a goal and five assists to lead the Trojans to victory.
Sarah Sovocool stopped seven of 11 Laker shots.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Cazenovia but was moved to Homer due to field conditions at CHS.
Cortland 10, Oswego 7 (Game One)
Another big inning by the Purple Tigers’ offense — a nine-run bottom of the third — was enough to keep Oswego at bay in the first game of a doubleheader at Gutchess.
Seven of the nine Cortland starters had hits, including four with two hits Caden Congdon, Tyler Blake, Caden Albright and Andrew Partigianoni. Albright and Partigianoni also had two RBI each.
Congdon got the win with 3 1/3 innings of relief, allowing six hits and four runs while striking out four.
Cortland 9, Oswego 0 (Game Two)
Jason Carr wasn’t fazed by the rain delay in the fifth inning, as he finished what he started — a complete game one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts.
Carr was aided by Albright (2-for-4, two RBI, one steal) and Max Gambitta (three RBI, one steal.)
All of the hits in the game were singles.
Otselic Valley 9, Cincinnatus 6
A six-run sixth turned a 3-2 Cincy lead into a win for the visitors from Otselic Valley.
For the Lions, Kaylee Brenchley pitched a complete game with five strikeouts and had two steals and a run offensively, Bryer Torrance had a stolen base cycle in the bottom of the seventh and Marin Dumian and Phoebe Smith chipped in RBIs.
“After missing last season completely due to COVID-19 and only having two weeks of pre-season this year, I am proud of the way the girls came together as a team and performed for our first game this season,” Lions coach Ashley Bush said. “I continue to be impressed by the hard work and dedication of our freshmen this year. We have six returning seniors who have brought a wealth of knowledge to the field that has helped shape the team. We are looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Southern Cayuga 182, Marathon 201
The Chiefs (2-0) handed the Olympians their first loss of the season at Maple Hill.
Southern Cayuga’s Jackson Otis and Brandon Vanacore were the top performers, each posting a 41. Braeden Morrison and Sam Castellot led Marathon with a 47 and 48, respectively.